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Mildenhall 54 Heathens 39 (Mildenhall win 91-90 on aggregate)
2:07am Thursday 25th October 2012 in Sport
ADAM Roynon suffered a suspected broken leg as Dudley Heathens lost the National League title by a single point.
The Heathens skipper clashed with Mildenhall’s Stefan Nielsen on the first lap of the final heat in last night’s second leg at King’s Lynn.
Both riders required medical attention but Roynon came off worse after appearing to be struck by his rival’s airborne bike.
After a long delay referee Dave Robinson decided the Dudley man had caused the crash and excluded him, handing the hosts the title.
Ashley Morris went on to win the re-run but it mattered little as a 3-3 was not enough for the visitors, who had seen a 14 point lead from yesterday’s first leg slowly whittled down during the course of the evening.
The long delay in announcing Roynon’s exclusion was the source of some controversy but referee Robinson, who had the use of video replays, said he was unwilling to announce his decision while the ambulance and medical staff were still treating riders on the track.
It meant a rather surreal and strange ending to an evening which provided plenty of suspense if not always classic racing, on what was a severely treacherous track with a wafer thin racing line.
For the Heathens it meant heartbreak but they can look back with pride on a superb effort in pushing the hosts right to the end, after competing with five riders following Tom Perry’s crash in heat five of the first leg.
Ultimately his absence proved the difference, though only just.
Following a delay of 45 minutes and an inspection which saw the track cleared, the match got underway, even if the racing was somewhat understandably cautious in the conditions.
The Heathens made exactly the start they would have wanted, as Roynon and Darryl Ritchings ensured they claimed the first three heats to maintain the 14 point aggregate lead.
Their first hiccup arrived in heat four as Morris crashed out following a tangle with Nielsen. Roynon was then beaten by Joe Jacobs in the next race as the hosts began to eat into the advantage.
Morris and Ritchings provided some respite with a 4-2 in heat seven as racing gradually got a little easier but the hosts rattled off three straight 5-1s to move into the aggregate lead for the first time.
Things looked ominous but the visitors got a huge stroke of luck in the next heat as Nielsen’s engine blew a lap out from beating Roynon, who was on a tactical ride, with the Heathens handed an 8-1 to move back ahead.
Nielsen fought back in heat 13 with the passing move of the night to crucially get the better of Roynon, allowing a 5-1 from Dan Halsey and Bates in the penultimate heat to move the hosts ahead by one.
That meant it was all down to the final race. Roynon, Nielsen, Morris and Jacobs were locked together for the first lap with the Dudley pair just ahead but as they entered the home straight there was a huge collision. Nielsen was flung straight into the barrier with his bike flying off into the distance, eventually collecting his rival.
Initial fears were for the well-being of both riders but these gradually subsided into the question of how the situation would be resolved.
The answer was not the one Dudley wanted to hear.
Mildenhall 54: Joe Jacobs 11+2, Stefan Nielsen 9, Lewis Blackbird 9, Josh Bates 8+3, Daniel Halsey 8, Jason Garrity 7+2, Ryan Terry Daley 2+1 .
Dudley 39: Adam Roynon 16, Ashley Morris 8, Darryl Ritchings 7+1, Dan Greenwood 6+2, Adam Kirby 1, James White Williams 1, Tom Perry R/R.